The motorcoach and bus community is mourning the loss of industry veterans William “Billy Ray” Rhyne Jr., Anna Rill, Richard Sullivan and Elaine M. Lamers.
The four industry veterans are being remembered for their passion for the motorcoach business.
William ‘Billy Ray’ Rhyne Jr.
William ‘Billy Ray’ Rhyne, 78, died Dec. 8 at CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia, North Carolina, according to his online obituary. He was co-owner and President of America Charters LTD, and past president of the North Carolina Motorcoach Association. Rhyne was known for his hospitality, larger-than-life personality and an infectious laugh — as well as his way of making everyone feel welcomed.
“Billy Ray was one of the greats, and his passing is a great loss to all in the bus business. If you didn’t know him … you really missed something special,” longtime coach salesman turned industry columnist Dave Millhouser wrote in a Facebook post.
Anna Rill died Dec. 7, at age 87, at her home in Westminster, Maryland. She and husband, Paul David Rill, owned Rill’s Bus Service, a Carroll County school bus contractor, for 52 years. Rill also was a school bus driver for more than 40 years. Rill was recently honored by the school district for her many years of service.
“Anna touched countless lives throughout the years, and was blessed to share many wonderful travel adventures and memories with groups. She leaves behind an incredible legacy, and will truly be missed by all,” her family shared in her online obituary.
Longtime motorcoach and transit executive Richard Sullivan died Dec. 2 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. He was 68, according to an obituary in Metro. Sullivan was most recently Vice President of Marketing and Sales with Complete Coach Works (CCW) and its affiliated companies, Shuttle Bus Leasing (SBL) and Transit Sales International (TSI). He sold Eagle Bus coaches for American Coach Sales, where he was famous for his hospitality suite shrimp cookouts. Many remember Sullivan’s tenure at Prevost, where rose to become vice president of sales.
“He helped us buy our first Prevost when no one would look at us because we were too small and new,” Connie Giddens, co-owner of Pacific Coachways Charter Services in Southern California, shared in a Facebook post. “What laughs we had together. Great guy. Sorry to hear he’s gone, but he will always be remembered in so many circles, especially the motorcoach industry.”
Elaine M. Lamers
Elaine Lamers, 78, of De Pere, Wisconsin, died Nov. 10, according to her obituary. Married to Allen Lamers, owner of Lamers Bus Lines in Milwaukee, she was a familiar presence at industry events. Lamars was charming, sweet and smart, with a quiet sense of how to best interact with those around her, remembers Pat Ziska, MCI Vice President of Private Sector New Coach Sale.
“I enjoyed personally knowing Elaine and truly looked forward to seeing her at the motorcoach events she attended with Allen. I enjoyed hearing what was new with the family and her opinion of what she liked on the latest motorcoaches,” wrote Ziska on a remembrance page. “She had a keen sense for what would appeal to passengers, as someone who enjoyed the experience herself.”